NHL Awards

Temperatures may be in the triple digits, but it’s hockey night in the desert, and the NHL Awards are back for a second round.

The awards arrived last year with much fanfare—Alexander Ovechkin and Ryan Kesler skated on imitation ice in front of Caesars Palace, the Stanley Cup was flown in for a pre-awards press conference and hockey fans flocked to the Palms as their favorite players arrived at the league’s most glamorous night.

Unfortunately, not many of those fans shelled out $300-plus to buy tickets to the show, so attendance was low. Organizers are hoping to change that this year.

Realizing last year’s headliners, Robin Thicke and Chaka Khan, didn’t exactly resonate with the hockey crowd, producers signed edgier and more relevant acts—rockers Shinedown and iconic rapper Snoop Dogg—for this year’s event. They also added performers from Jersey Boys and a three-minute Cirque du Soleil performance featuring the cast of The Beatles Love.

It’s too soon to tell if the enhanced lineup will translate to a sell-out crowd, but as of press time sources at the Palms say sales are outpacing the 2009 awards. “More [tickets have] already sold with still a week and half to go than we had last year total,” a Palms insider says.

Meanwhile, sources at the NHL reveal the league had been looking to move the awards to a larger venue, such as The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel, in an effort to raise attendance and lower ticket prices. Talk of moving the awards to L.A. also surfaced, but neither of those deals materialized so the awards return to the 2,500-seat Pearl at the Palms and tickets are again priced north of $300.

The 2010 NHL Awards red carpet starts at 3 p.m. June 23. Sidney Crosby will be there this year, along with Ovechkin, Duncan Keith, Ryan Miller, Martin Brodeur and others. Nine trophies will be awarded, and a poolside afterparty will follow at the Palms Pool and Bungalows.

If you want to party with NHL royalty for less, consider the June 22 pre-party at Lavo. Hosted by Jeremy Roenick and Ovechkin, doors open at 10 p.m., and cover is $20 for men, $10 for women and free for all locals.

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